UK helps broker groundbreaking WTO agreement

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As the world’s second-largest services exporter, the UK is among the countries positioned to benefit the most from its terms…reports Asian Lite News.

Britain’s world-leading services sector is set to benefit from a landmark deal announced at the World Trade Organisation on Thursday that could cut trade costs by £113 billion per year.

Some 67 WTO members, including both developed and developing countries, have delivered an agreement on Services Domestic Regulation which cuts red tape around licensing and qualifications and is set to reduce services trade costs by up to 7% annually.

Britain has been a strong and vocal participant throughout negotiations since they were launched at the 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in 2017, particularly after formally taking up our independent seat at the WTO last year. As the world’s second-largest services exporter, the UK is among the countries positioned to benefit the most from its terms.

British businesses consistently cite complex administrative procedures as barriers to accessing international markets. The new rules will make it easier for businesses of all sizes – particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – to navigate foreign markets and obtain authorisation to export overseas.

Britain will be among a handful of nations applying the new rules across the broadest possible range of services sectors, including financial services. The biggest savings are likely to be in finance and tech – helping ensure London retains its position as Europe’s leading financial centre.

Anne Marie Trevelyan MP

Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan said, “We are delighted to have played our part in bringing about this historic deal, which shows exactly the kind of cooperation we want to see at the WTO and demonstrates it can deliver trade rules fit for the 21st century. As the world’s second-largest services exporter, the UK is particularly aware of how important it is to cut red tape and get trade flowing to build back better from the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, reacting to the development, Miles Celic, CEO, TheCityUK, said, “This agreement will be celebrated by the UK’s financial and related professional services industry. It is an essential step towards removing the types of trade barriers most often experienced by services exporters. This necessary and innovative agreement will reduce costs for UK businesses, support women’s economic empowerment, and is a significant win for the WTO and wider multilateral economic cooperation.”

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